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NEWS and NOTES: >> Shopping and Safety Tips for Reclining Chairs:

New Recliners Provide Ultimate in Comfort - and Style, Too

HIGH POINT, N.C. – More and more consumers are now discovering what a few have known for quite some time: Recliners not only provide the ultimate in comfort and relaxation, they also can be fabulously fashionable and are available in nearly limitless styles, colors and sizes.

"Recliners are finally being accepted for what they are – stylish, comfortable and practical – and are now being found in even the classiest of homes," said Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president at the American Home Furnishings Alliance. "Consumers will be amazed at the variety offered in reclining chairs today."

AHFA offers the following five tips for recliner shopping:

  • Consider who will be using the chair most frequently. Recliners are offered in a wide range of sizes, from petite to grand. For both your enjoyment and safety, it’s important to find a chair that fits just right, regardless of your height or weight. In addition to being scaled for larger people, big man’s chairs are engineered differently to withstand extra weight. Petite chairs are scaled so that shorter legs can rest on the floor with ease. And medium-sized chairs will be comfortable for most average-sized people.
  • Assess the room where your chair will be. What style would be most appropriate? What color would work best? Do you prefer a leather or fabric cover? Recliners are available in all styles, from the most classic traditional to the sleekest contemporary. Legs vary from shapely Queen Anne to straight-legged Mission to tailored skirts. Many styles feature the more typical recliner look, with solid bases that are flush to the floor.
  • Measure the space where the chair will be located and make sure you have ample space to open the chair. Some models are engineered so they can be placed within an inch or so of the wall and still recline.
  • Determine what features are important to you and your family. Recliners are offered with an astonishing array of options, including swivels, gliders, rockers, massage, heat, lifters, built-in phones and even refrigerator units. Ask your retail sales associate to demonstrate the various features for you, and try them out in a selection of chairs.
  • Test the mechanisms. Recliners are activated in a variety of ways, with handles, buttons, knobs, simple push backs and levers. See what feels best to you. For those who object to seeing a handle or lever, hidden mechanisms are available, but they sometimes require more effort to move the chair into a reclining position. Be sure everyone who will be using the chair tries out the mechanism. What works easily for one person may be difficult for another. You may want to consider the new power mechanisms that feature motors similar to those found in many of today’s automobile seats. With the touch of a button, the user can effortlessly recline the back or extend the footrest and stop at any position.

Recliner safety tips

Because reclining chairs contain mechanized parts, they require more safety considerations than stationary chairs. AHFA offers the following 10 safety tips:

  • To prevent cuts and lacerations, do not put your hands or fingers under the mechanism to operate the chair. Only the occupant should operate the chair, and never attempt to open the chair by pulling on the footrest.
  • Sit down in the chair slowly. To avoid tipover, do not throw your weight against the back of the chair. Move the chair into the reclining position slowly, making sure that no children or pets are in close proximity. Do not allow children to play on or around a recliner, particularly if it is in an open position.
  • Close the recliner completely before getting out of it.
  • Never sit on the footrest when it is open, or allow children to do so.
  • To eliminate the risk of tipover, do not sit on the arms or footrest of the recliner.
  • Only one adult should sit in a recliner at a time.
  • Watch for pets who may choose to lie down underneath the chair.
  • When moving your recliner, be sure it is completely closed. Pick the chair up by the arms; never pick up the chair from underneath.
  • Be sure the chair is constructed so there is no more than 5 inches opening between the seat and the leg rest to eliminate the possibility of a child becoming trapped in the opening. Older chairs may not meet this voluntary standard that was adopted in the late 1980s.
  • When shopping for a new recliner, look for the gold UFAC tag ensuring that the manufacturer has agreed to meet construction criteria suggested by the Upholstered Furniture Action Council. The voluntary UFAC program has been credited with contributing to a nearly 80% reduction in the number of upholstered furniture fires started by smoldering cigarettes.

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The American Home Furnishings Alliance is headquartered in High Point, N.C. – the furniture capital of the world – and represents more than 200 leading U.S. furniture manufacturers and an additional 250 suppliers to the industry.